Answering Your Questions + Treats

I just rediscovered this picture. My husband baked these pink celebratory cupcakes on my last day as a librarian, almost two years ago. Anna, thankfully, sold to my publisher only two months later. (In other words: The quitting-the-job thing, which EASILY could have backfired, did not.)


And here's a celebratory cookie he recently gave me. Because Jarrod is the best, that's why:

Thank you for your recent celebratory blog comments—for cheering me on through Lola, for compliments about the VERVE cover and the John Green post, and for general Anna-related-gushing-awesomeness. You've filled this author's heart with a lot of love. I am lucky to have readers like you.

So it's time to dip into your questions from the comments!

Liz Czukas asked: This is totally unrelated to your current post, but when do we get to see cover art for Lola? I'm jonesing for another dose of the Perkins magic and some cover art might ease my suffering.

Lisa Aldin asked: When do we get to see a cover for Lola?

Anna's cover was revealed last March. My best guess is that Lola's will be revealed around the same time. MAYBE earlier, because it has an earlier release date, but I kind of doubt it. Even I haven't seen it yet!

In response to this—"I'm already preparing to dive into Isla and the Happily Ever After, but there are several adjustments to my lifestyle that need to be considered first."—Kristan asked: Lifestyle adjustments? Pray tell, what do you mean?

I meant that since Anna's release, my life has become more . . . complicated. More email, more requests for my time, more this, more that. And it's GREAT, of course, but it's new.

It means that my daily schedule—which took me a year and a half to figure out, after quitting that library job!—is a wreck again. I'm five months behind on email, I have a large number of overdue interviews, and, oh yeah, I have to write a novel this year. And edit one. And begin another. And provide feedback for my critique partners. And continue promoting Anna and begin promoting Lola and blog and tweet and Facebook.

I'm currently testing new ways to balance these things. (And have a life outside of my career, too!) I have a feeling it'll take time.

But it is, admittedly, a nice problem to have.

Lakien asked: Brazil, really? AWESOME. Can you say which publisher?

Man, I had no idea how huge young adult literature is in Brazil until a few months ago. You Brazilian book bloggers blow my mind! Portuguese rights for Anna and the French Kiss were sold to Brazil's Editora Nova Conceito. I'm not sure when it will be published; you'd have to email them directly.

Brianna Lee asked: I'm an aspiring author and was wondering if you have any tips on writing and getting published, thanks. :)

I frequently talk about writing and publishing here, so you can always browse through my blog's "Writing Advice" label, as well as follow my blog or subscribe to it. Also, I recommend checking out the links and books in my On Writing section!

Robin Mellom asked (in regards to Anna): I grew up in Atlanta so I laughed out loud at the line about EVERYONE in Georgia going to Panama City. Haha! We totally went there every summer. Did you ever live in ATL??

I *LOVE* hearing that I've made someone laugh, but, unfortunately, I can't take credit for that joke. The Panama City line was courtesy of my husband Jarrod, who was raised in Georgia. But I did live in Atlanta for three years, in Decatur, which is also where Anna is from (I never specifically mention it, though locals will recognize the few names I throw out).

Connie Onnie left a gift, a link to this website: Enchanted Serenity of Period Films.

IT'S FABULOUS. The costumes! The swoon!

Marissa (link didn't work?) read my ENTIRE blog (Wowza! Thank you!) and also left a gift: And here's some Chris, my fav HBM :D

Merci! What a cheerful picture. I believe that was from the most recent Bridge School Benefit, correct? I've seen some great videos from that show on YouTube.

Alexa asked: Have you seen the BBC series MI-5? It's on about series five now but Richard Armitage is the lead in the last two series, and before that it was Rupert Penry Jones and before that Matthew Macfadyen - it is chock full of HBM and definitely worth watching.

Nooooooooo! I haven't! It's been in my Netflix queue for ages, and I still haven't found the time to dive in. I will MAKE time this year. Thanks for the reminder.

And now, because you said the magic words, I'm allowed to post a picture of Mr. Darcy. Here is Mr. Darcy in his MI-5 role:

And here is Mr. Darcy as Mr. Darcy:

I love it when someone mentions the magic words!

And I asked you for a list of books that you enjoyed in 2010, and here were your excellent responses:

Restoring Harmony by Joelle Anthony
The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon by Sara Beitia
Plain Kate by Erin Bow (two mentions!)
Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Matched by Ally Condie
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley
The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Ash by Malinda Lo
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty
Grace by Elizabeth Scott
Nothing by Janne Teller
Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin

Now I have a NEW question for you. Did anybody try organic eggnog after reading this post? Please tell me that I got at least one of you addicted! This year, I began adding it to my coffee, tea, scrambled eggs, cookies, and biscuits. I already miss it.

Until next year, eggnog! *kisses last carton*


Writer Friends & Giveaways & Such

If you want to know what I've been doing for the last three months, the above picture says it all.

Okay, well, first it says: HOW GIANT IS THAT PUMPKIN? And then: WAIT. HOW TINY ARE THOSE PEOPLE?? But that's just Kiersten White's husband having fun with forced perspective.

What the photo actually reveals is Kiersten answering one of 8,000,000 panicked/morose/doomed texts that I sent her about Lola, even when she was doing Important Family Things like picking out a pumpkin for Halloween. I have been RELENTLESS. Since autumn!

I want to take this moment to thank her, even though a moment is not enough for the debt I must repay, even though there are no words strong enough to express my gratitude for her friendship and guidance.

Thank you, Kiersten.

I have absolutely, positively no idea what I'd do without you. Probably bite off my own hair in a frustrated rage. And then eat it. And then quit.

Thank you for reading every draft in every stage. I'm sure you've memorized my novel by now, and for that, I also apologize. (Maybe Penguin will hire you to do the audiobook? I'd even let you substitute the word "fudge," especially in that One Scene, which would be really, really funny and much better than what I actually wrote.)

I also want to thank Daisy Whitney, who swooped in like a superhero during the Extra Hard Time, who edited my book ON NEW YEAR'S EVE, who filled all of my inboxes with hilarious messages that I will never, ever, ever be able to share publicly. Thank you, Daisy. I needed that. I needed you.

And Gayle. Gayle!

Gayle Forman is not only one of my favorite authors, but I've had the great pleasure of getting to know her over the last few months, and she has also become one of my favorite people. She is my fountain of wisdom, she is my inspiration. She is my friend.

And, lucky for you dear readers, she is also Anna's champion! Right now she's doing an AMAZING and GENEROUS giveaway on her blog. All you have to do is comment on this post to enter to win a signed copy of Anna and the French Kiss. But even better? If you've already read it, you can answer a few questions about the story and enter to win an *additional* second prize:

Artisanal Jacques Torres chocolate!!!

Trust me, you want this chocolate. Gayle will even let you choose if you prefer dark or milk!

Also—because friends tell each other more than they tell other people—the accompanying interview is more revealing (meaning: interesting) than most. It also contains mild spoilers, so if you haven't read Anna yet, beware! Or skip straight to the comments.

I hope you check it out, and I hope you enter to win fabulous stuff!

In further writer-friends-who-are-champions news, last Friday, I guest blogged for Natalie Whipple during her weekly Happy Writer's Society meeting. I don't normally write guest posts, but I'm a HUGE fan of her idea to bring more positivity into writers' lives. I was honored to be asked to contribute. I blogged about one of my favorite writing tricks, creating "Love Lists." If you're curious what those are, you can read my entry here.

And it received a really positive response, which made ME a happy writer!

[Actually, I have something else wonderful about Natalie to share, but I need to take an accompanying picture first. So it shall have to wait! Along with a few dozen other awesome stories that I want to share with you. Have I mentioned lately how much I've MISSED blogging?]

And in final writer-friend news, have you seen the amaaaaaazing pictures on Laini Taylor's new blog? Holy kitty cats! She spent the entire month of December in Morocco and Italy, and her pictures are incredible. Laini is one of those rare people whose life is as magical as the stories she produces. She inspires me to be a better writer, a better traveler, a better housekeeper, a better gift giver, a better everything.

Seriously, check out her blog. It is a treasure.

Also, I may—MAY—be seeing Laini again soon. In a VERY cool place. Which is exciting! I haven't seen her since Clementine Pie (above, in the cutest hijab I have ever seen) was in her belly. I have missed my Laini!


One final thing.

If you wanted to go to this website and write-in Anna and the French Kiss (and Kiersten's Paranormalcy!) as one of your top teen reads of 2010 (if it's true!), I would be grateful. Normally, I'm like, "No biggie, I didn't make a list." But this time, I confess that my ego is getting the best of me, and I'm looking at the sheer length of that list and thinking, "Seriously? How did our books not make THAT?"

And in final-final news, egos are embarrassing, and I can't believe I just asked you to do that.

But I did.

If you want.


(Thank you.)


Across the Universe Launch Party

The fabulous Beth Revis and some other chick.

Lola and the Boy Next Door has been turned in (YAY YAY YAY), and to celebrate . . . I left my house! Which was exciting. I've left my house a grand total of two — maybe three — times in the last month.

ME: GAAHHH! Is it always this bright outside? *blink blink blink*

HUSBAND: *snort*

Jarrod and I drove to Forest City to join in the celebrations for the release of Beth Revis's Across the Universe. Unfortunately, we got crummy directions from Google Maps and missed the first ten minutes. But we did arrive in time to hear Beth read an excerpt (amazing) and answer questions (ditto).

The crowd was huge and happy, and Beth was gracious and glowing, and I can't imagine a better way to begin this next stage of her career. This book is about to be MASSIVE. North Carolina authors rock!

[And I wish you could see her hair better in the top picture. I was somewhat obsessed. It's really, really long and beautiful, and she had it curled, and there were these awesome sparkly barrettes. Beth has PRINCESS HAIR, you guys.]

Several book bloggers drove up to see her, and it was great meeting them, too. Some of them even brought a copy of Anna for me to sign, because they knew I was coming! That kind of flattery gets you everywhere, my friends.

With Tiffani . . .

. . . Bethany . . .

. . . and Jeffrey and Jeremy.

Seriously, ladies and gents, how cute are those twins?

In the most wonderful, unexpected moment, I also met Lois Moss. I've known Lois through blogging for two-ish (or more?) years, and it was great to finally in-person talk. I knew our paths would cross someday.

Someday = Today

We had a fantastic chat in which I convinced her to watch The Pillars of the Earth, and she convinced me to send her my advanced copy of Sarah Dessen's latest.

Ha! Love her.

Now I'm home, and it's early morning, and my body is still messed up from revisions, and I'm relieved but nervous to have my life back. It's not quite the same one that I had before. I'm already preparing to dive into Isla and the Happily Ever After, but there are several adjustments to my lifestyle that need to be considered first.

Truthfully, I feel a little bit lost right now. And dazed.

New Year.

New book.

New start.

Thank goodness for new starts. Good luck, Beth, and here's wishing you a GREAT start!


What day is it? Hello?

Just popping out to say hello. I miss you. I miss blogging and books and movies and sleeping during the night and leaving the house.

Lola is nearing completion.

Good things are coming soon.

Happy New Year. Shiny, shiny. Best wishes to everyone.